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102 mendeleviumnobeliumlawrencium


Name, Symbol, Number nobelium, No, 102
Chemical series actinides
Group, Period, Block n/a, 7, f
Appearance unknown, probably silvery
white or metallic gray
Standard atomic weight (259)  g·mol−1
Electron configuration [Rn] 5f14 7s2
Electrons per shell 2, 8, 18, 32, 32, 8, 2
Physical properties
Phase solid
Melting point 1100 K
(827 °C, 1521 °F)
Atomic properties
Oxidation states 2, 3
Electronegativity 1.3 (Pauling scale)
Ionization energies 1st: 642 kJ/mol
CAS registry number 10028-14-5
Selected isotopes
Main article: Isotopes of nobelium
iso NA half-life DM DE (MeV) DP
253No syn 1.7 m α 8.440 249Fm
ε 3.200 253Md
255No syn 3.1 m α 8.445 251Fm
ε 2.012 255Md
259No syn 58 m α 7.910 255Fm
ε 0.500 259Md
SF - -

Nobelium (pronounced /noʊˈbiːliəm/, /noʊˈbɛliəm/), also known as unnilbium (/juːˈnɪlbiəm/, symbol Unb), is a synthetic element with the symbol No and atomic number 102. A radioactive metallic transuranic element in the actinide series, nobelium is synthesized by bombarding curium with carbon ions. It was first identified by a team led by Albert Ghiorso and Glenn T. Seaborg in 1957[1].


Notable characteristics

Little is known about nobelium and only small quantities of it have ever been produced. It has no known uses whatsoever outside of the laboratory. Its most stable isotope, 259No, has a half-life of 58 minutes and decays to 255Fm through alpha decay or to 259Md through electron capture.


Nobelium (named for Alfred Nobel) was first synthesized by Albert Ghiorso, Glenn T. Seaborg, John R. Walton and Torbjørn Sikkeland in April 1958 at the University of California, Berkeley. The team used the new heavy-ion linear accelerator (HILAC) to bombard a curium target (95% 244Cm and 4.5% 246Cm) with 12C ions to make 254No (half-life 55 seconds). Their work was confirmed by Soviet researchers in Dubna.

A year earlier, however, physicists at the Nobel Institute in Sweden announced that they had synthesized an isotope of element 102. The team reported that they created an isotope with a half-life of 10 minutes at 8.5 MeV after bombarding 244Cm with 13C nuclei. Based on this report, the Commission on Atomic Weights of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry assigned and accepted the name nobelium and the symbol No for the "new" element. Subsequent Russian and American efforts to repeat the experiment failed.

In 1966 researchers at UC Berkeley confirmed the 1958 experiments and went on to show the existence of 254No (half-life 55 s), 252No (half-life 2.3 s), and 257No (half-life 23 s). The next year Ghiorso's group decided to retain the name nobelium for element 102.

Nobelium was the most recent element "of which the news had come to Harvard" when Tom Lehrer wrote "The Elements Song" and was therefore the element with the highest atomic number to be included.


13 radioisotopes of nobelium have been characterized, with the most stable being 259No with a half-life of 58 minutes, 255No with a half-life of 3.1 minutes, and 253No with a half-life of 1.7 minutes. All of the remaining radioactive isotopes have half-lives that are less than 56 seconds. This element also has 1 meta state, 254mNo (t½ 0.28 seconds).

The known isotopes of nobelium range in atomic weight from 249.088 u (249No) to 262.108 u (262No). The primary decay mode before the most stable isotope, 259No, is alpha emission, and the primary mode after is spontaneous fission. The primary decay products before 259No are element 100 (fermium) isotopes, and the primary products after are energy and subatomic particles.


  1. ^ C&EN: It’s Elemental: The Periodic Table - Nobelium , webpage, retrieved June 18, 2006
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory - Nobelium
  • Guide to the Elements - Revised Edition, Albert Stwertka, (Oxford University Press; 1998) ISBN 0-19-508083-1
  • It's Elemental - Nobelium
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Nobelium". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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